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Oakland Man Convicted Of Murdering Best Friend During LSD Camping Trip

OAKLAND (CBS SF) -- An Oakland man has been convicted of first-degree murder and arson
for stabbing an Emeryville man to death at a campground in the Plumas National Forest and setting the surrounding woods on fire two years ago, prosecutors said.

Plumas County District Attorney David Hollister said the trial of 24-year-old Sheldon Steward for the death of 20-year-old Trevor Holminski -- who grew up in Antioch but later lived in Emeryville -- near Bucks Lake in the early morning hours of Aug. 22, 2015 was "a sad case" for everyone involved.

Hollister said Steward and Holminski -- a musician who attended Ex'pression College for Digital Arts in Emeryville -- were best friends who both used LSD.

But Hollister said something went horribly wrong when they used LSD again while camping in Plumas County two years ago.

Hollister said the evidence in Steward's trial indicates that he stabbed Holminski and then set Holminski's body on fire in an attempt to hide the evidence in the case.

Hollister said Steward's lawyers argued that Steward was under the influence of LSD and acted in self-defense but he believes the evidence shows that Steward was the aggressor.

The prosecutor said it remains unclear what caused Steward to kill Holminski because the two men hadn't fought before and Steward didn't have a prior criminal record.

Jurors, who deliberated less than a full day before reaching their verdict on Tuesday, also convicted Steward of enhancements for using a knife to kill Holminski and starting a fire during California's drought emergency.

Hollister, a former Alameda County prosecutor who's been in the Plumas County District Attorney's Office for 14 years, said Steward faces a sentence of at least 26 years to life for his murder conviction and could face up to an additional nine years for his arson conviction.

Steward's sentencing date has not yet been set.

TM and © Copyright 2017 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Bay City News Service contributed to this report.

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